Mega Drive Mini 2 Release Noriyuki Iwadare and Toshiyuki Kubooka Lunar: Eternal Blue Interview Translation, Plus: Kei Shigema Talks about Lunar 0

Note from translator: As with the TSS interviews, I am omitting the original article's idiosyncratic bolding and linking, as well as any image captions that consist solely of creator credits.
Last updated 1/15/24 with the full Kei Shigema EB Q&A section. This document will eventually be updated with the other interviews.


The announcement that both installments of Lunar, the flagship RPG series for the Mega-CD, would be included on the Mega Drive Mini 2—slated for release on October 27—has caused a sensation.

This feature from Beep21 features Lunar series mainstays—script writer Kei Shigema; character designer Toshiyuki Kubooka; and Noriyuki Iwadare on music—as each looks back on the untold stories from the production of these Mega-CD titles.

Here, Mr. Iwadare, sound manager, regales us with tales from the development of Eternal Blue, created as the sequel to Lunar.

Finally released after 2-1/2 years of development, how was the Mega CD's final RPG masterpiece created?

Mr. Iwadare tells the story from his perspective. Have a look.


When production on Lunar: The Silver Star wrapped up, the fact of the matter was: there was plenty that had been done well, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

Afterward, you know, I had a bit of a crisis about my own future: like, what should I do; should I continue making music or not? I fumbled about for an answer. Of course, I decided to carry on, and so, with Isao Mizoguchi (Don McCow), I founded Two Five, and as the company's first masterpiece (and the Mega-CD's last? I've heard it called that (laughs)), we approached Lunar: Eternal Blue (hereafter Lunar 2) with enthusiasm and determination that exceeded that of the original project.

Looking at records, it seems that production on Lunar 2 began in October 1992. In 1992, I was wrapping up Rise of the Dragon and SimEarth for the Mega-CD and Maten no Soumetsu and Kishi Densetsu etc. for the Mega Drive (I was accumulating experience). I therefore was able to devote my full attention to the project.

The staff for Lunar 2 was pretty much the same as for the first game. Even more of Toshiyuki Kubooka's charming characters appeared than in its predecessor, and there were so many splendid cutscenes—even at the storyboard stage, they were already so deeply moving!

Kei Shigema's script had so much worthwhile stuff in it, and the groundwork for the "a boy tries to save the girl he loves and winds up saving the world in the process" story progression was laid so well—it's so fun! This is the way! This—this is the great masterpiece! (Though there are of course tropes.)


Now, as I was considering how to approach the sound, Mr. Shigema said: "Let's do mainly orchestral sound." And so, I was able to plan a thoroughly-integrated, orchestral soundtrack with, of course, a variety of elements—I think I created maybe about 100 tracks?

To play the music, Mr. Ari Kamijo at Game Arts (Co., Ltd.) created a streaming driver just for this game. The sound was monaural, but the driver allowed tracks of over 4 minutes in length to be recorded. I didn't have to worry about recording time! I was ecstatic!

You know, though, when I made a joke about "Ahhh, but it's mono?", Mr. Kamijo also made it possible for me to play pseudo-stereo effects! I thought, that's just as good! It really got me pumped.


One thing I can't forget to mention in talking about Lunar 2 is the company retreat at Shiriyaki Onsen in Gunma Prefecture. We all traveled in our own cars, and it was farther into the mountains than I thought. I finally arrived at Shiriyaki Onsen, and I headed for the room where we were all gathering. I thought there'd be a big uproar, everyone exchanging spirited opinions, butting heads, right?...but there they were, playing mah-jongg. What did I expect? Game Arts did create that Gambler Egomaniacs title (Gyuwanburaa Jikochuushinha), after all (laughs). They really will play it anywhere. According to a rumor I heard, even when they went to the ocean for a swim, they were playing mah-jongg on the beach! Of course. Well, I'm sure that before that, it was a very productive meeting.

caption: Gyuwanburaaa Jikochuushinha: Katayama Masayuki no Maa Jaan Doujou (Gambler Egomaniacs: Masayuki Katayama's Mah-Jongg Dojo) box art
As we're sure you know, Game Arts' first Mega Drive title was Gambler Egomaniacs. In a tale of his younger days, Yoichi Miyaji claims initial development took two years.

When night came, we decided to head for the hot spring. This particular hot spring was very unusual in that it sprang from the middle of a river; unfortunately, it had rained the day before, so we couldn't go in the river (because of the rising water). That meant that we had to wait for our turn to go in the rotenburo on the riverbank. While I was waiting, I was looking up at the moon, peeking from in between the trees...and I heard this flute melody pop into my head...and that was how I came up with the opening theme for Lunar 2!!! It was a divine revelation! I forgot all about going in the hot spring; I had to get this melody down on paper, on sheet music, to write down that melody and the other sounds I had heard in my head. That was when I knew: this project is going to turn out great.


However: development kind of stalled. From about 1993 onward, I did a huge number of jobs concurrent with Lunar 2: A/X-101 (1994) and Wing Commander (1994) for the Mega-CD; Ranger X (1993) for the Mega Drive; Virtual Cameraman (1993) and Rocket Coaster (1993) for the Mega LD (did you know about this system? It used laserdiscs!); the overseas release of Alien vs. Predator (1994); Graduation (1992) and Tanjou: Debut (1993) for the PC Engine—and on and on. I was so busy! Maybe too busy; during the recording of Tanjou: Debut (to digress a little here), I was kind of half-conscious, in a daze, I guess, and it didn't come out sounding really like I imagined—I really ended up taking a long time. I'm usually a decisive person, but that was the only period where I wasn't really clear on what I was doing, and I ended up causing a lot of inconvenience for those involved. Overscheduling really is not a good thing. I'm truly, horribly sorry.

Come 1994, Lunar 2 was still in production. At the time, game production never really stuck to deadlines, and production periods would just drag on and on—because we wanted to create a satisfactory product. Lunar 2 likewise went on for too long...given the stagnation, there wasn't enough promotional material at all (for articles), and players were getting tired of waiting. That's why we decided to rush out the Prelude drama + music CD.

I already had an idea for the theme, so I created a theme track almost seven minutes in length, as well as a track for the goddess Althena, but at the time, I still hadn't seen the end of the game! It really was a prelude. Of course, when I composed these tracks (which took place in between recording other CDs...), we were doing dubbing with the voice actors, and all the other staff members besides me were gathered together. I remember thinking: "ahh...I wish I could be there, too."

But! I heard afterward that Mr. Kubooka listened to the compositions I created then over and over, and that they expanded the idea he had of the game in his mind (particularly of the anime cutscenes). I was just so happy for that.


Let me think back on the environment I used to create the sound at the time, because I think a lot of people might have an interest in that.

I still had my PC-98 and Recomposer (sequencer), and I introduced an E-mu Proteus/2 XR—it was tailored for orchestral sound. Its double reeds were so good—the oboes and bassoons!

So I produced a lot of melodies with single oboes, single bassoons, or oboes and flutes with octave layering. Octave unisons with oboes and flutes were a crutch for me with Lunar 2... The layering is so effective and makes such an impact; it just makes me think of Lunar 2 whenever I hear it.

For strings, I used the Proteus/2 with a Roland synthesizer (U-220). The sound of the solo viola was so good. The solo in the track for the martial-arts tournament uses it.

Ahh, that reminds me: I also used the Proteus/3 World (for ethnic instruments) and the Procussion (as a drums and percussion sound source)! Afterward, I also bought more samplers like the e-64 and e-6400 and used them for Grandia. I was a complete E-mu partisan (laughs). I really like E-mu's sample library; I use it even now, on current jobs. The sound is so convincing. I also used a Roland JD-990 (primarily for synth brass and synth pads), a Korg M3R (mainly for sparkly-sounding synth etc.), and an Alesis D4 (a drum sound source), among others.

I have another good story for you. During production, Mr. Shigema really said: "Mr. Iwadare, let's record this with an orchestra. If I put up a million yen, Mr. Kubooka puts up a million, and you put up a million, we could do it, right?" He was serious! At the time, I laughed and dodged the question, but I couldn't have done it at the time. I was lacking in numerous departments—skill, experience, budget, guts... But it made me so happy, and I was so grateful, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much. I hope that wish can come true next time.


Anyhow: in round figures, I made a whopping 60 BGM tracks, 30 music tracks for anime cutscenes, and 10 tracks for internal sound sources, for a grand total of 100 tracks. Recording for the ending and promotional vocals all wrapped up in October 1994 (with the final bit being Lemina-sama's singing for the omake CD). The game was going to retail on December 22 the same year, so it was an unbelievable schedule, to have the game go to market so quickly after finishing the was kind of scary!

But the game arrived at retail just fine, thank goodness. I actually recorded all the movie cutscenes to video while playing the game! I loved it that much. It's a game I'm really attached to.

I cried, you know, at the final ending. I know what would happen, but the timing of the music was just exquisite.

After that, the game also got a release overseas and became a work that continues to be beloved to this day all over the world—that makes me really happy.

In 2013, I went to San Francisco for an appearance at Japan Expo USA, and there was a schoolteacher who said they'd played Lunar as a child and had brought their students to our concert. That made me so happy! I don't know what the students thought, but if they felt something, if they played the game—that would warm my heart.

It's a very good game—one that could be called my starting point. I'd love to share my love for it with you through the Mega Drive Mini 2.


Here, character designer Toshiyuki Kubooka looks back on the stories surrounding the decision to make Eternal Blue, the sequel to Lunar, and other tales.


—Once the previous game, Lunar: The Silver Star, was finished, how did the decision to make the sequel, Eternal Blue, come about? Did development just start right away, directly continuing from the previous game? Or was there a bit of a break?

Kubooka: I have absolutely no memory of that period, but I do recall attending something like a review meeting at Game Arts after 1 (Lunar: The Silver Star) was released.
However, as for whether or not talk of a sequel came up there... At the review session, I think someone said something like "you took the trouble of setting the game on the moon; it would've been nice if there were more of a unique culture or something." I feel, like, compared to anime, the amount of planning and preparation that goes into the world and setting is a bit too slight, I guess. (I'm ignoring, of course, that these are my own characters.)

Judging from the release year, it looks like it was the same year that Yamato 2520 (November 1994) came out, so I probably did it right after the Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still OVA (1992-1998) came out.
By the way, Mahiro Maeda, the genius asked to do the design of the Four Dragons etc. on Lunar, supervised the Yamato 2520 production; it was created primarily by early Gonzo staff. Gonzo was greatly involved with work on Lunar, including the remakes, so the series is deeply entwined with Yamato 2520.

—I believe that when you started work on Eternal Blue, reviews and reactions on 1 were already out; do you have any memory of them from that time?

Kubooka: My impression, at least, was that the reception of 1 revolved overwhelmingly around the script! That, and then, like, the giant map, and the battles, I suppose.

I loved how huge that map was, too, so it was kind of unfortunate that it was scaled down in Eternal Blue. Scale was rapidly becoming symbolic, apparently, with scale in towns and on the overworld not matching each other. Well, I guess there were many reasons, but still.

caption: shot of overworld with Damon's Spire from TSS
Overworld screen from Lunar: The Silver Star.

I don't remember the reactions to the anime cutscenes or characters at all. I wonder if there even were any...


—Looking at the Lunar I & II artbook, Eternal Blue had an overwhelming number of planning documents. How did you go about creating the game's look and setting?

caption: spread of unused design docs from the artbook
The Lunar I & II artbook (April 1995; SoftBank) published a treasure trove of development documents on the Lunar series—an absolutely shocking amount.

Kubooka: The scale of this story (Eternal Blue) was so huge; we approached it as if, if the previous game were the TV anime, this was an anime for theatrical release.
I was involved with the remake (on the Sega Saturn) as well, but for me, the best is undeniably the Mega-CD Eternal Blue—there's no comparison.

At the time, I had begun my shift toward direction, but I didn't have any prior experience with a work this massive. I got the chance to be involved with everything from the script reads to scoring the anime cutscenes—creating the idea of what music tracks should be used with which scenes—and it was a truly invaluable experience (though I ended up trashing a Hi8 I'd just bought in the process). I put my head in the project and wracked my brain like never before, and I feel a lot of the ideas it prompted in my mind still serve me today.

caption: still from cutscene of Hiro & Ruby encountering Lucia for the first time
For Mr. Kubooka, the Mega-CD version of Eternal Blue is the best, and for that and many other reasons, he'd like you to savor it on the Mega Drive Mini 2.


This section of the interview has a major spoiler for something in Giant Robo, on the off chance that you're planning to watch that but haven't.

Mr. Iwadare wrote about the company retreat, but there was also a plotting retreat that Mr. Shigema, Takashi (Hino), Mr. (Toshio) Akashi, and myself went on ahead and did before the retreat for the entirety of Game Arts. (In exchange, I didn't go on the Game Arts company retreat.)

In the original text, Kubooka refers to Takashi Hino as "Ezure-san," with "Hino" inserted between the two terms in parentheses (江連(火野)さん); Beep inserts a link that leads to a Google search for 火野峻志 ("Hino Takashi"). I don't have an explanation for this (nickname? name change? mistake?), but I thought I'd note it just in case.

Except for a few hours of sleep every day, the entire retreat was spent in plotting meetings; I was totally exhausted! I remember a hot spring employee warning Mr. Hino that they were going to charge for the electricity our PCs were using! I think the majority of the main story was basically decided at that point.

The idea that Lucia came from the Blue Star was superb, and discussion rapidly spun off from that point. At the time, though, some believed that her coming from the Blue Star should be a mystery, something revealed along the way. I personally was opposed to that and believed that Lucia's identity should be revealed early.

It's something that would be suspected along the way anyhow, and I felt that keeping it a secret would complicate the character depiction. I thought that making it clear who Lucia was right away made it so that your attention wasn't held or distracted by some sort of contrivance—that you were instead watching what she did and how she thought.

This way, the character of Lucia would inevitably grow darker, given her heavy mission, but I faced the same issue in Giant Robo, which I did before Lunar, and I was therefore able to put those experiences to use here.

It was established from the very beginning, by the will of the director, that the heroine of Giant Robo, Ginrei, would die. Perhaps because of that, things ended up getting serious on the drawing side as well, and she ended up completely devoid of a typical heroine's charm.

So I decided to be proactive in drawing Lucia in a cheerful manner, to put in some comical scenes, and this made that Lucia come to life in my mind. I was impressed by how Lucia's character and character transformation were reflected not just in the script but in Lucia's AI in battle.

The character design overall had more enthusiasm put into it overall than in 1. It's not that I cut corners before, but I feel that with 2, I wracked my brain a bit more.

Generally, at first, I have one image that serves as the trigger for everything, and my concept expands from there. For Lunar 2, I think it was "a beautiful girl in men's clothing." Mr. Shigema and I both love Princess Knight.


I wanted her uniform to be like that of Maetel from Galaxy Express 999, with both her outfit and hat black, but I avoided this and put her in red.

By the way, for the remake, I was able to cast my dream actress, Masako Ikeda, in the role of older Luna, and I was just over the moon. I couldn't help it; I was just beside myself, reverting to a total fan: "It's Maetel! It's Audrey Hepburn!"


With Lucia's shawl and culottes—her basic costume on the world of Lunar—I wanted to create a contrast with her uniform and emphasize her as a normal girl as much as possible; I feel maybe like going from an outfit that covers up everything to uncovering her slender arms and legs suits a character that you've somehow grown to want to protect! But as for me drawing it—well, at the time, I was very bad at that Lucia.

This is a digression, but in a certain idol game, there's a character named *sa. She's renowned for having a small bust.

I wondered for the longest time why she had Lucia-like decorations on her stage costume, and it took a rather long time for me to realize it.

Don't tell anyone I said "kuso!" when I figured it out.

Kubooka was the character designer for the early Idolmaster games. Beep links to Google searches for Chihaya Kisaragi, an Idolmaster character with long, Lucia-esque blue (well, blue-purple) hair. The kanji with which Chihaya's name is written can also be read as "Chisa," a reference to Lucia's Japanese voice actress, Chisa Yokoyama. Her family name of "Kisaragi," meanwhile, is taken from the name of the second month in the old Japanese lunar calendar—Lunar 2? Get it?
Beep also links to some searches that turn up AMVs of Chihaya performing to Lucia's songs, in which she's wearing crescent moons on her choker and in her hair.
The text here is strange. It reads as if Kubooka himself were the one surprised at the references, and I've translated it as such—yet as character designer for both
Lunar and Idolmaster, he had to be the one to put them in, right? The wiki specifies that Kubooka was a designer for the early games only, so I thought that perhaps Chihaya debuted in a later game, one with which Kubooka was not involved—but that turns out not to be the case.
I will note that the wiki shows an early sketch of Chihaya (with a Lucia-esque headband) that seems to be not Kubooka's style—perhaps this particular character was designed by another artist for some reason. Then again, another artbook shows production artwork that clearly is in Kubooka's style. I don't know. ...I don't know.

Personally, the characters I like are Lemina, Leo, Mauri, and fake Althena, I guess?

caption: full-body illustration of Lemina
Lemina, current head of the Magic Guild.

caption: full-body illustration of Leo
Leo, one of the Cult of Althena's Four Heroes, in command of the White Dragon

caption: full-body illustration of Mauri
Red Priest Mauri, one of the Four Heroes and younger sister of Leo

caption: full-body illustration of fake Althena
Fake Althena, who rules the world from the capital of Pentagulia
Does she, really? Lunar at the time of Lunar 2 doesn't seem to have much in terms of global organization or government whatsoever.

The design lines of those beast characters are different from those of Jessica from the previous game, so as I was drawing them, I really thought they'd wouldn't work. I thought they somehow came out better anyhow; maybe I'd lost my resistance to beast characters since the previous game. (laughs)

caption: still of Jessica from her intro in SSS, despite what Beep's caption says
From the previous game, Lunar: The Silver Star; Jessica Alkirk, daughter of Mel, governor of the free city of Meribia.


At first, I asked Shunji Suzuki to handle the anime cutscenes, like with the previous game, but for various reasons, I decided that I would do them. We had the same hardware limitations as with the previous title, but I'm a person who will make unreasonable demands and push everything to the limit, so I drew that scene where Zophar rips the moon apart with the mindset where if it didn't work, I'd make it work, and I was able to get it looking better than I imagined—I was impressed.

That was because of the extravagant sakuga that needed so many douga in-between frames, even by the standards of a full-fledged anime; I don't think many people were doing that in video game pixel art. I think the key to its success lay in the black background and the oblong presentation that didn't take up the entire screen. However, despite this, there was a need for a load in the middle of the cutscene, and the art would freeze, so I thought, if it's going to be that way, I'll just use flicker to have things stop after the hands clench. It looks very natural, I think. (I understand the point where there's a flash of black is where it switches to the loaded data.)

By the way, this isn't present in the remake; it's replaced by a depiction of Lucia receiving a premonition of Zophar's actual revival. It's a divergence in concept from the Mega-CD version; I wanted to take it in as realistic a direction as possible, so I decided that the abstract representation wouldn't fit.

It's a phantom cutscene that can be seen only on the Mega-CD!

In that vein, I'd like, as promised, to talk about the "Lucia on the ship" cutscene.
That's the scene where Lucia is on board the Destiny, headed to Pentagulia, singing to herself with a sea bird on her hand.

This scene is in the Mega-CD version, but not in the subsequent remake (for the Sega Saturn). We're often asked why it was taken out—even by staff members who weren't involved with the remake. The scene was actually planned to be in the remake as well. It was just in a different location: Taben's Peak, where Nall is.

In the scene, Lucia was supposed to sing an entire song—like Luna in Silver Star Story. I think it would have added some structural balance and symbolized Lucia becoming more human.

It was decided that the Destiny scene would have been too early for Lucia to sing about her changing emotions, so it was changed from the ship to Taben's Peak. For the visuals, I imagined her singing surrounded by nature, against the backdrop of like a lake or a beautiful waterfall.

We got to the point where we had music for the song and handed in a rough draft of the lyrics, but it was shaping up to be a rather sizable scene, with 3D circular pans and a staggering number of birds flying away. The Saturn version was already strapped*, so we unfortunately had to shelve the scene. We were planning to put it in the PlayStation version, but that idea ultimately fizzled out as well.

In light of previous allegations (see the bottom of this document): The expression Kubooka uses here, "yoryoku ga nakatta," can refer to being short on resources in a number of ways: cash, manpower, energy, etc. Kubooka does not specify the exact manner in which the Lunar 2 production was strapped.

It wasn't like we couldn't do it with overworld character animations, but it was originally going to be a scene equivalent to [one in] Silver Star Story, so there was no point in doing it if it was going to end up like that. So we ultimately cut it—that's the bottom line. I wanted to explain this if I got a chance somewhere, so I've used this space to do so. I'm truly sorry we weren't able to make the scene a reality.

For once in these interviews, the phrase in brackets was added by me, the translator.

—Thank you for regaling us with all those stories. It seems there are more scenes we'll have to check out when we play Lunar 2 on the Mega Drive Mini 2. Do you have any final words for those who are going to play Lunar 2?

Kubooka: I was really thrilled at the response to the game from fans; it was so heartening. It's just too bad that the game was released at the end of the (Mega Drive/Mega-CD) hardware cycle.

Such a long time has passed since then; I wonder if the game's universal appeal still comes through. So if the Destiny does something ridiculous like get stuck on a rock, just remember—that, too, is just like it was in the old days! (If this was fixed, sorry.)

I'd be thrilled to hear any new reactions.

Note from translator: I've posted this elsewhere, but I think it merits putting up here before the whole interview, given the subject matter.


—Did it become possible to go back and forth between Lunar and the Blue Star?

Shigema: With Hiro and Lucia, they came to Lunar for fun pretty casually in the drama CDs, so I guess they figured it out pretty quickly.

—Do you think you'll be able to be present the tale of the Four Heroes era (the so-called Lunar 0) touched upon in the PSP version of Silver Star in a game or other media?

Shigema: Lunar 0 has become a story of a bit different era!
As for the tale of the Four Heroes: the emotions and conflicts and fated bonds involved are released and resolved in Alex's story, so I don't think there's any need to depict it independently.
However, I'd like to write a little bit about Laike's story after the end of the game.

—What happened to Hiro and Lucia afterward?

Shigema: Welllll, I don't know—I suppose they went on a variety of adventures together?
Lucia may have awakened the Blue Star, but I don't imagine it would have revived immediately just like that. I wouldn't be surprised if an exhausted Hiro & Lucia had two or three more adventures on the level of Eternal Blue! Making new comrades from people sleeping on the Blue Star—maybe everyone on Lunar coming to help, of course. I also kind of doubt whether that would've really been the last we saw of Ghaleon-sama.
And perhaps at the end of Hiro and Lucia's adventures, the frozen earth would have changed to green...


—Be honest: is there even a 0.1% chance of Lunar 3 in the future? I'm on pins and needles!

Shigema: I think the statute of limitations is up, so... (Actually, about 21 lines of grown-up stuff was deleted here...)
...So several years after the above was suspended, there were talks about whether we could now create a Lunar 0 about the details of how humanity moved to Lunar, and for consideration, we created a simple plot and characters. Mr. Kubooka even drew up rough sketches of the main characters.
These were just for consideration; they didn't go to production.
That means that, as for as the 0.1% chance goes: I don't think it's zero.
However: an extraordinary amount of manpower and funding is necessary to create an RPG from scratch in this day and age, and when I think of getting to the point of getting that all together, I think it would be enormously difficult.
I myself still want to hold out hope, so let's give Game Arts our support!


Incidentally, while it's not a sequel to Lunar, Tales of Destiny 2 (TOD2) is its spiritual successor—the emotional heir.

I'd wanted overseas Lunar fans to play it, too, but, alas, there was no overseas release!
Abroad, Tales of Eternia was released as "Tales of Destiny 2".

The role of TOD2's lengthy animated cutscenes; the expressions; the characters and story construction; the thematic material; the position of the heroine; the music production; and on and on—I think they're all connected fairly directly to Lunar. The element of romance between the characters etc. too is that way.

Particularly thematically, Lunar is, as an action-adventure tale, thoroughly about how the hero fights to save the girl he loves and saves the world in the process. With TOD2, we tried to go further and depict the decisions and growth of a hero forced to choose between the girl and the world.

Speaking of other games, typical Lunar elements remain strongly in Game Arts' Grandia II - particularly all with the songs and songstresses, I think. It's a regret of mine that right up to the very end, I was never able to be involved with main script duties.

Shigema has an "Original Story" credit but not one for the script ("scenario," the Japanese "shinario" being a false friend meaning "script").

Also, I was involved in script production only—and I'm scared even to write something like this for fear of making the main scriptwriter, Jun Kumagai, angry—but even so, I personally think that, in some way, Tales of Crestoria is its heir emotionally and in its intentions.

Shigema has a "Script Support" credit for Crestoria.

Crestoria was a smartphone game, and service ended for it, but it'll be restarted on December 4, 2022 as a manga in Magazine Pocket, so please check it out. I think it's a story that should be told in this day and age.

—Luna and Lucia: both of their names begin with "Lu." Do you have some sort of obsession with that? Does it come from the Latin "Lucia"?

Shigema: Well, it is Lunar, so I thought a "Lu" connection might be nice. And, yes: like the question says, I am aware of the Latin "Lucia" ("light").

I do not speak Latin, but every source to which I refer states that "Lucia" is derived from the Latin word for light, "lux," but does not itself mean "light" in the language.

—If you were given an opportunity to get the team back together today, would you want to revive the Lunar series, or would you want to try to create something different?

Shigema: I'd like for each team member to tag-team with a young person—and then to make a next-generation Lunar with that team! I've lost almost all of my practical know-how of how to make a grand-scale RPG, so I'd like to set up that sort of succession myself.

—In Lunar 1, Althena's Sword was bestowed upon the Dragonmaster by the goddess Althena; did Althena make the other dragon equipment (the Blue Dragon Helmet, Red Dragon Shield, Black Dragon Armor), or did each dragon make it?

Shigema: I think there was an idea in planning that each dragon made it. So, the designs also change with each generation of dragon. In a very early plot for Eternal Blue, there was an idea along the lines that the dragon equipment would be revived as the captured dragons were freed. But Eternal Blue wasn't the story of a Dragonmaster, so the idea was cut.

—When did Nall start looking after children on Taben's Peak? Were there any plans to have the children raised in Taben's Peak show gratitude to Nall or something after they leave the nest?

Shigema: I envisioned human Nall with the idea of depicting the tragedy of those races who lead long lives. After Alex and Luna lived out their lives, I think Nall probably wandered the world alone for a while. There was probably also a time when he was wild, violent, and out of control. During this, he happened across a baby all alone, and he resolved to carry on Alex and Luna's wishes by living for future generations and entrusting their hopes for the future to them.
I thought up of many episodes with the children of Taben's Peak; human Ruby was also scheduled to appear.
A great many of these episodes were planned to be restored in the remake of Eternal Blue, as well as a scene where Lucia remembers a song and sings about her own emotions. As Mr. Kubooka said in his essay, we unfortunately had to cut this.

Note: The original text for the above paragraph says "Luna" instead of Lucia, but it has to be Lucia given context and Kubooka's statements.

caption: full-body illustration of Nall
Despite his human form, Nall still retains traces of the days when he traveled with Alex.

—Did you have a scriptwriting teacher, Mr. Shigema?

Shigema: Not directly. As I wrote in the previous essay, I come from a small backwater city, so there wasn't anyone like that near me. I just read a lone introductory book; the rest, I had to learn on my own.
I did, however, have a spiritual teacher: Hiroyuki Yamaga, director of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise. I never spoke to the man himself even once, but I personally consider him as my mentor.
In my Gainax (General Products) days, I had the opportunity to glimpse Mr. Yamaga on the job in scriptwriting.
I had previously read explanations as to how scripts were structure, but the idea didn't really connect with me.
It was like: structure is everything to a script? Really?
That day, I saw Mr. Yamada, who was to write the script for the Gainax-produced OVA Naki no Ryuu, suddenly take copies of the original comics and begin to disassemble them page by page.
I was shocked: what is he doing? As I watched out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mr. Yamaga take the scattered pages, exclude from them the unnecessary episodes, then assemble the remaining pages in chronological order as they happened in the story.
He then stapled them together and handed them over to production management with a simple "here's the script."
I was astonished...!
As I believe those who have read the Naki no Ryuu manga will know, the work is renowned for its discontinuous storytelling—for how it jumps around in time. Putting the story in chronological order reworked it into a structure that could stand as a video production.
Really! So that's it! So scripts really are structure... They're built atop the foundation that structure provides...!
It was like: Eureka! Or, rather: Water!

I don't know what Shigema means by "water"—if it's a reference to Naki no Ryuu or what. The only water of which I know in connection with the phrase "Eureka" would be the Archimedes-bathtub thing.

This realization was really crucial for me; even now, I occasionally think that without that moment, I don't know if I would have subsequently continued working as a scriptwriter.
Later, I was fortunate enough to gain an opportunity to view Mr. Yamaga's scripts from first draft to final copy for Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, GunBuster, and UFO 1988, a manga serialized in Cyber Comix. Well, it was less that I studied them and more that I was bowled over by their rock-solid construction.
Incidentally, for those who would like to study script structure in real time, I think Ichiro Okouchi's scripts for Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury make an excellent reference. The structure of each episode is extremely strong, and with the characters in motion on top of it all—it's rock-solid.


—What was your initial concept for each character?

Shigema: Hiro, I envisioned as an explorer, an adventurer, a treasure hunter. He was complete from the very start; there were almost no changes to Mr. Kubooka's initial rough draft.
Hiro's name came from "hero"; one of the writers, Mr. Hino, was using it as a placeholder. However, it ended up growing on me as I was writing the script, and when it came time to decide on an official name for him, I found I just couldn't change it!
Ruby was initially named "Mink." Names were generally chosen by soliciting suggestions. In planning, she was a girl calling herself a young Red Dragon—the opposite pattern from Nall from the first game. During battle, Nall would heal, so she would participate by attacking. When she regained the power of the Red Dragon, her attack power would double! DOUBLE! Mr. Kubooka even came up with a design for Ruby in human form, and I so wanted to put her in, but she never appeared...
As for Lucia, the word "tsundere" wasn't in use at the time, so Mr. Kubooka would use the term "cool & beauty" [sic]. Personally, I imagined her as Hilda from The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun or Kathy from Animal Treasure Island.
A girl of mystery, her initial outfit was reminiscent of a military uniform—something quite alien to the culture of the world of Lunar! As I wrote before, she was a beautiful girl in male dress—that made me happy! Mr. Kubooka drew some early rough sketches that emphasized the mystery of the mystery girl, with her hair in a Chinese queue. Naturally, I thought: yeah, that's a little too much mystery...
After she came to Lunar, she changed to local apparel; Mr. Kubooka pushed for culottes. I thought, wouldn't a skirt be better? but then I thought: culottes are better! and put them in the final script.
Mr. Kubooka already wrote about a certain game character in his essay, so I have to reluctantly leave that out.

Zophar's name comes from that of Zorya, the Slavic deity of twilight. In myth, Zorya is a goddess, but Zophar himself has an androgynous image. Initially, I envisioned him as paired with the goddess Althena, the goddess Lucia, in opposition—each never able to destroy the other, just to seal each other away. Only humans were able to intercede—but the goddesses had no faith in humanity. That sort of thing.
Iemasa Kayumi's voice was just too good; I was head over heels during the prescoring. Just ecstatic...

Wikipedia is claiming that the Slavic goddess Zorya is actually a goddess of the dawn, with some traditions pairing her with sister goddesses of the same name but with different epithets representing twilight, twilight and midnight, or twilight and midday. It's difficult to find information on the English-speaking internet that's purely about the Slavic myth, without info on the American Gods franchise.

There's a tradition of young girls fulfilling the priestly healing role, so I created Ronfar with the idea of turning that paradigm on its head. If, though, I made him an old man, as would be expected for an inversion of the trope, that wouldn't benefit anyone, so he ended up a young man with an old-looking face. Making him just a priest wouldn't be interesting, so he was planned to be this drunken gambler—just a good-for-nothing guy. And then we went ahead and created this story of how he left the priesthood—like, how did he end up this way? The character was created backwards from his role in the group—a rarity for Lunar!

With Jean, her dancing girl appearance came first. She was designed to be an older dancing girl, because when a slightly older woman notices you and talks to you with that worldly, seen-it-all air of hers, it makes you happy! So happy, you know?! And I knew that Mas Oyama of Karate Master/Karate for Life fame once said something like "Martial artists shouldn't pick fights with dancers. They're in insanely good shape," so I thought, well, let's give that a try, and Jean the martial artist was born. There's a shot in the ending of Jean dancing happily; I think that's her true nature. I'm glad she was able to go back to her real self.

Lemina was at first intended to be a noble girl doing her best to rebuild her fallen family name—so how did she end up like she is...? But, um, well, I also feel that it all makes sense.
In the previous game, Vane fell out of the sky, which I imagine was pretty tough on the Magic Guild, so the image came to me of a girl who was desperately trying to get it up in the air again. She was doing her best to try to save up the money for reconstruction, but it's like she was so obsessed with the pennies that the dollars got away from her, and so she doesn't have much to show for her efforts—but she's still extremely proud to be part of a noble family, always obstinate, but at heart, she's a stand-up, forthright girl who's doing her best. You can't help but like that! I thought, and so I excitedly wrote her into the script. She has a goal and is raising money for it, but along the way, the fundraising becomes more important than the goal, and she ends up a money-grubber—that sort of character.
Her theme song, "Okane ga Ichiban!" ("Money's the Best!"), is also a masterpiece. The vocalist is listed as "Lemina Ausa," not Megumi Hayashibara—there must have been a contract issue...? We got an OK take the first time in recording.
In her ending shot, Mr. Kubooka drew Lemina with glasses, and I went out of my mind: A meganekko?! Why didn't I think of that?! I love meganekko Lemina! I want Mr. Kubooka to draw more of her.

Leo, he's a beastman, but his design lines are a little different from those of Jessica or Admiral Mel from the previous game. Jessica was a cat-type, so Leo's a dog-type. In the early stages, Mr. Kubooka also tried giving him a centaur-like form. Characterwise, he's like Inspector Zenigata from Lupin III. He was also considered as a rival to Hiro. I suppose he's the individual who's the most liberated by the events of the main story? I enjoyed writing the Mystere parts of the script. He's also important in the drama CDs and such as a comedic punching bag. Ms. Funato treated him as an actual dog in her manga...

That ended up being pretty long. Thank you for reading it all!
I beg those involved in the production of the games to forgive me and emphasize that this is all just my own personal perspective on events.

These games were made long ago, but we all truly put all our hearts and souls into them, together, as a team. They're very, very important games to me, and I love them a lot.

If, when you look up at the night sky and see the moon, you think: "hey, I had an adventure there!"—that'd make me just so happy.

Thank you for keeping the Lunar series eternally in your hearts.  I'm truly grateful!